Gemma Mangione is a Lecturer in the Arts Administration Program and a Consulting Analyst with RK&A, a planning, evaluation, and strategy firm serving museums across the United States. She previously worked as a member of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Education Department, coordinating a community outreach initiative for older adults in the New York metropolitan area.
Gemma’s research connects practices illuminated through organizational ethnography with mechanisms of broader institutional and policy change. She has a particular interest in legitimation processes in the arts and cultural sector, and how these shape innovation, interpretation, and inequalities. Her working book manuscript compares programs for visitors with disabilities across art museums and botanical gardens. As museums’ “health turn” gains traction in cultural policy, she examines how museum staff and visitors embrace, contest, and define the therapeutic value of art and nature and how this process impacts opportunities for access and inclusion. In recognition of her work on this project in its dissertation stage, she received a 2015-2016 American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Poetics, Museum & Society, Sociology of Health & Illness, and Qualitative Sociology.
Gemma has a sustained interest in exploring how social scientific theory and evaluation practice can together help people make informed choices about the operations of cultural institutions and the values they contain. As part of her commitment to coupling theory and practice, she has twice presented at the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) Conference organized by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and she also participated in a National Art Education Association roundtable on museums and wellness. She writes on the intersection of sociology and evaluation for RK&A’s blog, The Intentional Museum. Gemma is also a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Arts Administration Educators, the Visitors Studies Association, and the American Sociological Association, where she previously served as a student representative for both the Culture and Body & Embodiment member sections.
Gemma holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and art history and a M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University.
Columbia University Teachers College
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